National Cathedral to be ‘officially commissioned’ in 17 days?

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All things being equal, the National Cathedral of Ghana will officially be commissioned for public use on March 6, 2024.

That is 17 days from now, and that is purely based on the fact that it is what was promised by the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government.

After all, what is there not to believe in this promise when, all along, the driving force of this national project, described as one that would marginally boost the tourism acumen of Ghana, has stemmed from the personal promise of the sitting president to God?

“I pledged to Almighty God that if he was gracious enough to grant my party, the New Patriotic Party, and I victory in the 2016 elections, after two unsuccessful attempts, I would help build the cathedral to His glory and honor,” Akufo-Addo said at a ceremony to officially begin the project.

This was in 2020 during the groundbreaking ceremony to commence the cathedral’s construction.

And then, on July 29, 2021, then-Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta announced that the project was on track and would be ready before the 2024 general elections.

In his words, completing and commissioning the controversial National Cathedral would coincide with the country’s Independence Day in 2024, March 6.

“Mr. Speaker, work on the National Cathedral is progressing speedily, and following the program of the contractors, and with God helping us, the National Cathedral is expected to be officially commissioned on March 6, 2024. Upon completion, the National Cathedral would provide a sacred space for formal religious activities of State and symbolize the enormous contribution of faith to Nation Building,” he told parliament.

Along the way, President Akufo-Addo has given several reassurances on going ahead with the plan to build the edifice.

On September 12, 2022, he again stated that no matter the circumstances, the cathedral would be constructed and finished.

Speaking at the Pentecost International Worship Centre (PIWC) in Accra, the president reiterated that he will not let the plan go unimplemented.

“We will build the National Cathedral by all means. We will finish the construction before I say what I have to say about it,” he affirmed to the cheers from a section of the gathering. So, technically, all should be in place to ensure this target is achieved, no matter what.

As it stands now, many Ghanaians are on edge, waiting for the national edifice to be ready for commissioning on March 6, 2024 – only a few days away.

But what have been the setbacks to the project so far?

Undoubtedly, there have been financial constraints to the National Cathedral project, culminating in the project being placed on hold at certain points.

For instance, in August 2023, major news outlets reported that the construction had stalled because of a lack of funds.

The foundation works on the multi-million project at the time had been completed, being the farthest the project had gone as of that time.

The Executive Director of the National Cathedral Project, Dr Paul Opoku-Mensah, appealed to the Christian community in Ghana and the Diaspora to make financial commitments to help sustain and complete the project.

“At the moment, we have suspended the project a bit to ensure that we have adequate resources to continue. The worst part will be to have people on site and pay them while work is not going on,” he said.

He said that although the contractors and their staff were on site, the workers had been sent home until there was enough money to continue with work.

“We hope that in the next couple of weeks, we can raise funds and begin work again. Our ability to complete this work is dependent on Ghanaians helping us,” he added.

Not too long afterward, though, other counter-reports were indicating that the National Cathedral executive chairman said he didn’t mean the project had been suspended.

Resignations from the National Cathedral Board of Trustees:

Among other challenges have been the high-profile resignations of some of the members of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral.

These have included the Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer of the Action Chapel International (ACI) Ministry, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, and the President of the Eastwood Anaba Ministries, Eastwood Anaba.

The two announced their resignations in a joint statement, citing their growing concerns about transparency and accountability within the project.

Later, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills of the United Denominations Originating from the Lighthouse Group of Churches (UD-OLGC), also resigned from the board.

According to reports, his resignation was due to the many ignored concerns that were raised for years about the construction of the National Cathedral.

For instance, in his resignation letter he wrote addressed to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral, President Akufo-Addo, and others, he raised concerns about the cost, design, fundraising, and location of the project, among others, but did not receive a response after writing several letters.

“I feel that the treatment of the issues I have raised in my several letters has been unfortunate. My letters have been ignored in the past, not attended to for years, and at best addressed flippantly,” he said.

Also, it was reported that a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof Cephas Omenyo, also resigned from the Board of Trustees due to ill health.

The Secretary to the Board of Trustees, Rev. Victor Kusi Boateng, has also been embroiled in several issues, having been on the radar of the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

In some of these instances, the MP suggested impropriety on the part of the secretary to the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral of Ghana, Rev. Victor Kusi Boateng.

On January 16, 2023, the MP made some allegations against Rev. Kusi Boateng, who is the secretary to the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral of Ghana.

In an earlier revelation about the National Cathedral, Okudzeto Ablakwa said a whopping GH¢2.6 million was dished out to a company named JNS Talent Centre Limited.

Further investigations into the alleged payment led to the discovery of one Kwabena Adu Gyamfi as a director of JNS Talent Centre.

Having confirmed the identities of two out of three directors of the center, Ablakwa dug deeper in a bid to discover the identity of the third director, Kwabena Adu Gyamfi.

According to his findings, citing several statutory documents, Kwabena Adu Gyamfi was the same as Reverend Kusi Boateng, who has allegedly been operating under the pseudonym Kwabena Adu Gyamfi.

Based on all the above and being fair with the bare facts, the question on the minds of many is whether this is going to add up to the several promises of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government that have been unfulfilled, if not overly delayed in being implemented.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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